Martin Scorsese

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Martin Scorsese

Scorsese at the Tribeca Film Festival, 2007
Born Martin Marcantonio Luciano Scorsese
November 17, 1942 (1942-11-17) (age 66)
New York, New York,
United States
Occupation film director, producer, screenwriter
Years active 1963–present
Spouse(s) Laraine Brennan (1965–1971)
Julia Cameron (1975–1977)
Isabella Rossellini (1979–1983)
Barbara De Fina (1985–1991)
Helen Morris (1999–present)

Martin Marcantonio Luciano Scorsese (born November 17, 1942) is an Academy Award-winning American filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, and film historian. Also affectionately known as "Marty", he is the founder of the World Cinema Foundation and a recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award for his contributions to the cinema and has won awards from the Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Directors Guild of America. Scorsese is president of the Film Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to film preservation and the prevention of the decaying of motion picture film stock.

Scorsese's body of work addresses such themes as Italian American identity, Roman Catholic concepts of guilt and redemption,[1] machismo, and violence. Scorsese is widely considered to be one of the most significant and influential American filmmakers of his era, directing landmark films such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas; all of which he collaborated on with actor Robert De Niro. [2] He won the Academy Award for Best Director for The Departed and earned an MFA in film directing from the New York University Tisch School of the Arts.


[edit] Life

Martin Scorsese was born in New York City. His father, Luciano Charles Scorsese (1913–1993), and mother, Catherine Scorsese (née Cappa; 1912–1997), both worked in New York's Garment District, his father as a clothes presser and his mother as a seamstress.[3] As a boy his parents would often take him to the movie theaters; it was at this stage in his life that he developed his passion for cinema. Obsessed with historical epics at an early age, at least two films of the genre, "Land of the Pharaohs"(1955), and "El Cid"(1961), appear to have had a deep and lasting impact on his cinema psyche. Scorsese also developed an admiration for neo-realist cinema at this time. He recounted its influence in a documentary on Italian neorealism, and commented on how The Bicycle Thief alongside Paisà, Rome, Open City inspired him and how this influenced his view or portrayal of his Sicilian heritage. In his documentary, Il Mio Viaggio in Italia, Scorsese noted that the Sicilian episode of Roberto Rossellini's Paisà which he first saw on television alongside his relatives, who were themselves Sicilian immigrants, made a significant impact on his life.[4] He has also cited the Indian neorealist filmmaker Satyajit Ray as an influence on his work.[5] His initial desire to become a priest was forsaken for cinema – the seminary traded for NYU Film School, where he received his MFA in film directing in 1969.

Scorsese has been married to Helen Morris since 1999; she is his fifth wife. They have a daughter, Francesca, who appeared in The Departed and The Aviator. He has a daughter, Cathy (Catherine), from his first marriage to Laraine Brennan, and a daughter, Domenica Cameron-Scorsese, who is an actress, from his second marriage to Julia Cameron. Scorsese was also married to actress Isabella Rossellini from 1979 to their divorce in 1983. He married producer Barbara De Fina in 1985; their marriage ended in divorce as well. He is primarily based in New York City.

[edit] Career

[edit] Early career

Although the Vietnam War had started at the time, Scorsese (who had struggled with asthma since his childhood[6]) did not serve in the military. He attended New York University's film school (B.A., English, 1964; M.F.A., film, 1966[7]) making the short films What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? (1963) and It's Not Just You, Murray! (1964). His most famous short of the period is the darkly comic The Big Shave (1967), which featured an unnamed man who shaves himself until profusely bleeding, ultimately slitting his own throat with his razor. The film is an indictment of America's involvement in Vietnam, suggested by its alternative title Viet '67.[8]

Also in 1967, Scorsese made his first feature-length film, the black and white I Call First, which was later retitled Who's That Knocking at My Door with fellow student, actor Harvey Keitel, and editor Thelma Schoonmaker both of whom were to become long-term collaborators. This film was intended to be the first of Scorsese's semi-autobiographical 'J.R. Trilogy', which also would have included his later film, Mean Streets. Even in embryonic form, the "Scorsese style" was already evident: a feel for New York Italian American street-life, rapid editing, an eclectic rock soundtrack, and a troubled male protagonist.

[edit] 1970s

From there he became a friend and acquaintance of the so-called "movie brats" of the 1970s: Francis Ford Coppola, Brian De Palma, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg. It was De Palma who introduced actor Robert De Niro to Scorsese, and the two figures became close friends, working together on many projects. During this period the director worked as one of the editors on the movie Woodstock and met actor-director John Cassavetes, who would also go on to become a close friend and mentor.[9]

[edit] Mean Streets

In 1972 Scorsese made the Depression-era gangster film Boxcar Bertha for B-movie producer Roger Corman, who had also helped directors such as Francis Ford Coppola, James Cameron, and John Sayles launch their careers. While it is widely considered a minor work, Boxcar Bertha nonetheless taught Scorsese how to make films cheaply and quickly, preparing him for his first film with De Niro, Mean Streets. Following the film's release, Cassavetes encouraged Scorsese to make the films that he wanted to make, rather than someone else's projects.

Championed by influential movie critic Pauline Kael, Mean Streets was a breakthrough for Scorsese, De Niro, and Keitel. By now the signature Scorsese style was in place: macho posturing, bloody violence, Catholic guilt and redemption, gritty New York locale (though the majority of Mean Streets was actually shot in Los Angeles), rapid-fire editing, and a rock soundtrack. Although the film was innovative, its wired atmosphere, edgy documentary style, and gritty street-level direction owed a debt to directors Cassavetes, Samuel Fuller, and early Jean-Luc Godard.[10] (Indeed the film was completed with much encouragement from Cassavetes, who felt Boxcar Bertha was undeserving of the young director's prodigious talent.)[9]

In 1974, actress Ellen Burstyn chose Scorsese to direct her in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, for which she won an Academy Award for Best Actress. Although well regarded, the film remains an anomaly in the director's early career, as it focuses on a central female character. Returning to Little Italy to explore his ethnic roots, Scorsese next came up with Italianamerican, a documentary featuring his parents, Charles and Catherine Scorsese.

[edit] Taxi Driver

Two years later, in 1976, Scorsese sent shock waves through the cinema world when he directed the iconic Taxi Driver, an unrelentingly grim and violent portrayal of one man's slow descent into insanity in a hellishly conceived Manhattan.

Scorsese's direction by now was highly accomplished, using jump cuts, expressionist lighting,[11] point of view shots and slow motion to reflect the protagonist's heightened psychological awareness. However Taxi Driver's immense power was due in part to Robert De Niro's intense lead performance. The film co-starred Jodie Foster in a highly controversial role as an underage prostitute, and Harvey Keitel as her pimp, Matthew a.k.a. "Sport."

Taxi Driver also marked the start of a series of collaborations with writer Paul Schrader. The film bears strong thematic links to (and makes several allusions to) the work of French director Robert Bresson, most explicitly Pickpocket (in essence the "diary" of a loner/obsessive who finds redemption). Writer/director Schrader often returns to Bresson's work in films such as American Gigolo, Light Sleeper, and Scorsese's later Bringing Out the Dead.[12]

Already controversial upon its release, Taxi Driver hit the headlines again five years later, when John Hinckley, Jr., made an assassination attempt on then-President Ronald Reagan. He subsequently blamed his act on his obsession with Jodie Foster's Taxi Driver character (in the film, De Niro's character, Travis Bickle, makes an assassination attempt on a senator).[13]

Taxi Driver won the Palme d'Or at the 1976 Cannes film festival,[14] also receiving four Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, although all were unsuccessful.

Scorsese was subsequently offered the role of Charles Manson in the movie Helter Skelter and a part in Sam Fuller's war movie The Big Red One, but he turned both down. However he did accept the role of a gangster in exploitation movie Cannonball directed by Paul Bartel. In this period there were also several directorial projects that never got off the ground including Haunted Summer, about Mary Shelley and a film with Marlon Brando about the Indian massacre at Wounded Knee.

[edit] New York, New York and The Last Waltz

The critical success of Taxi Driver encouraged Scorsese to move ahead with his first big-budget project: the highly stylized musical New York, New York. This tribute to Scorsese's home town and the classic Hollywood musical was a box-office failure.

New York, New York was the director's third collaboration with Robert De Niro, co-starring with Liza Minnelli (a tribute and allusion to her father, legendary musical director Vincente Minnelli). The film is best remembered today for the title theme song, which was popularized by Frank Sinatra. Although possessing Scorsese's usual visual panache and stylistic bravura, many critics felt its enclosed studio-bound atmosphere left it leaden in comparison to his earlier work. Often overlooked, it remains one of the director's early key studies in male paranoia and insecurity (and hence is in direct thematic lineage with Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, as well as the later Raging Bull and The Departed).

The disappointing reception New York, New York received drove Scorsese into depression. By this stage the director had also developed a serious cocaine addiction. However, he did find the creative drive to make the highly regarded The Last Waltz, documenting the final concert by The Band. It was held at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, and featured one of the most extensive lineups of prominent guest performers at a single concert, including Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Neil Diamond, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Paul Butterfield, Ronnie Wood and Van Morrison. However, Scorsese's commitments to other projects delayed the release of the film until 1978.

Another Scorsese-directed documentary entitled American Boy also appeared in 1978, focusing on Steven Prince, the cocky gun salesman who appeared in Taxi Driver. A period of wild partying followed, damaging the director's already fragile health.

[edit] 1980s

[edit] Raging Bull

By several accounts (Scorsese's included), Robert De Niro practically saved Scorsese's life when he persuaded Scorsese to kick his cocaine addiction to make what many consider his greatest film, Raging Bull. Convinced that he would never make another movie, he poured his energies into making this violent biopic of middleweight boxing champion Jake La Motta, calling it a Kamikaze method of film-making.[15] The film is widely viewed as a masterpiece and was voted the greatest film of the 1980s by Britain's Sight & Sound magazine.[16][17] It received eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Robert De Niro, and Scorsese's first for Best Director. De Niro won, as did Thelma Schoonmaker for editing, but best director went to Robert Redford for Ordinary People.

Raging Bull, filmed in high contrast black and white, is where the director's style reached its zenith: Taxi Driver and New York, New York had used elements of expressionism to replicate psychological points of view, but here the style was taken to new extremes, employing extensive slow-motion, complex tracking shots, and extravagant distortion of perspective (for example, the size of boxing rings would change from fight to fight).[18] Thematically too, the concerns carried on from Mean Streets and Taxi Driver: insecure males, violence, guilt, and redemption.

Although the screenplay for Raging Bull was credited to Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin (who earlier co-wrote Mean Streets), the finished script differed extensively from Schrader's original draft. It was re-written several times by various writers including Jay Cocks (who went on to co-script later Scorsese films The Age of Innocence and Gangs of New York). The final draft was largely written by Scorsese and Robert De Niro.[19]

[edit] The King of Comedy

Scorsese's next project was his fifth collaboration with Robert De Niro, The King of Comedy (1983). An absurdist satire on the world of media and celebrity, it was an obvious departure from the more emotionally committed films he had become associated with. Visually too it was far less kinetic than the style the director had developed up until this point, often using a static camera and long takes.[20] The expressionism of his recent work here gave way to moments of almost total surrealism. However it was still an obvious Scorsese work, and apart from the New York locale, it bore many similarities to Taxi Driver, not least of which was its focus on an obsessed troubled loner who ironically achieves iconic status through a criminal act (murder and kidnapping, respectively).[21]

The King of Comedy failed at the box office but has become increasingly well regarded by critics in the years since its release. German director Wim Wenders numbered it among his fifteen favourite films.[22]

Next Scorsese made a brief cameo appearance in the movie Pavlova: A Woman for All Time, originally intended to be directed by one of his heroes, Michael Powell. This led to a more significant role in Bertrand Tavernier's jazz movie Round Midnight.

In 1983 Scorsese began work on a long-cherished personal project, The Last Temptation of Christ, based on the 1951 book written by Nikos Kazantzakis (who was introduced to the director by actress Barbara Hershey when they were both attending New York University in the late 1960s). The movie was slated to shoot under the Paramount Pictures banner, but shortly before principal photography was to commence, Paramount pulled the plug on the project, citing pressure from religious groups. In this aborted 1983 version, Aidan Quinn was cast as Jesus, and Sting was cast as Pontius Pilate. (In the 1988 version, these roles were played respectively by Willem Dafoe and David Bowie.)

[edit] After Hours

After the collapse of this project Scorsese again saw his career at a critical point, as he described in the recent documentary Filming for Your Life: Making 'After Hours' (2004). He saw that in the increasingly commercial world of 1980s Hollywood, the highly stylized and personal 1970s films he and others had built their careers on would not continue to enjoy the same status. Scorsese decided then on an almost totally new approach to his work. With After Hours (1985) he made an aesthetic shift back to a pared-down, almost "underground" film-making style — his way of staying viable. Filmed on an extremely low budget, on location, and at night in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan, the film is a black comedy about one increasingly misfortunate night for a mild New York word processor (Griffin Dunne) and featured cameos by such disparate actors as Teri Garr and Cheech and Chong. A bit of a stylistic anomaly for Scorsese, After Hours fits in well with popular low-budget "cult" films of the 1980s, e.g. Jonathan Demme's Something Wild and Alex Cox's Repo Man.

[edit] The Color of Money

Along with the iconic 1987 Michael Jackson music video Bad, in 1986 Scorsese made The Color of Money, a sequel to the much admired Paul Newman film The Hustler (1961). (The Hustler was directed by Robert Rossen, whose 1940s boxing film Body and Soul was a major influence on Raging Bull.) Although typically visually assured, The Color of Money was the director's first foray into mainstream commercial film-making. It won actor Paul Newman a belated Oscar and gave Scorsese the clout to finally secure backing for a project that had been a long time goal for him: The Last Temptation of Christ. He also made a brief venture into television, directing an episode of Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories.

[edit] The Last Temptation of Christ

After his mid-80s flirtation with commercial Hollywood, Scorsese made a major return to personal film-making with the Paul Schrader-scripted The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988. Based on Nikos Kazantzakis's controversial 1951 book, it retold the life of Christ in human rather than divine terms. Even prior to its release the film caused a massive furor, worldwide protests against its perceived blasphemy effectively turning a low budget independent movie into a media sensation.[23] Most controversy centered on the final passages of the film which depicted Christ marrying and raising a family with Mary Magdalene in a Satan-induced hallucination while on the cross.

Looking past the controversy, The Last Temptation of Christ gained critical acclaim and remains an important work in Scorsese's canon: an explicit attempt to wrestle with the spirituality which had under-pinned his films up until that point. The director went on to receive his second nomination for a Best Director Academy Award (again unsuccessfully, this time losing to Barry Levinson for Rain Man).

Along with directors Woody Allen and Francis Coppola, in 1989 Scorsese provided one of three segments in the portmanteau film New York Stories, called "Life Lessons".

[edit] 1990s

[edit] Goodfellas

After a decade of mostly mixed results, gangster epic Goodfellas (1990) was a return to form for Scorsese and his most confident and fully realized film since Raging Bull. A return to Little Italy, De Niro, and Joe Pesci, Goodfellas offered a virtuoso display of the director's bravura cinematic technique and re-established, enhanced, and consolidated his reputation. The film is widely considered one of the director's greatest achievements.[24][25][26]

However, Goodfellas also signified an important shift in tone in the director's work, inaugurating an era in his career which was technically accomplished but some have argued emotionally detached.[27] Despite this, many view Goodfellas as a Scorsese archetype — the apogee of his cinematic technique.

Scorsese earned his third Best Director nomination for Goodfellas but again lost to a first-time director, Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves). The film also earned Joe Pesci an Academy Award (Best Supporting Actor)

In 1990, he acted in a cameo role as Vincent Van Gogh in the film Dreams by legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa.

[edit] Cape Fear

1991 brought Cape Fear, a remake of a cult 1962 movie of the same name, and the director's seventh collaboration with De Niro. Another foray in to the mainstream, the film was a stylized Grand Guignol thriller taking its cues heavily from Alfred Hitchcock and Charles Laughton's The Night of the Hunter (1955). Cape Fear received a mixed critical reception and was lambasted in many quarters for its scenes depicting misogynistic violence. However, the lurid subject matter did give Scorsese a chance to experiment with a dazzling array of visual tricks and effects. The film garnered two Oscar nominations. Earning eighty million dollars domestically, it would stand as Scorsese's most commercially successful release until The Aviator (2004), and then The Departed (2006). The film also marked the first time Scorsese used wide-screen Panavision with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1.

[edit] The Age of Innocence

The opulent and handsomely mounted The Age of Innocence (1993) was on the surface a huge departure for Scorsese, a period adaptation of Edith Wharton's novel about the constrictive high society of late-19th Century New York. It was highly lauded by critics upon original release, but was a box office bomb. As noted in Scorsese on Scorsese by editor/interviewer Ian Christie, the news that Scorsese wanted to make a film about a 19th Century failed romance raised many eyebrows among the film fraternity all the more when Scorsese made it clear that it was a personal project and not a studio for-hire job.

Scorsese was interested in doing a "romantic piece". His friend, Jay Cocks gave him the Wharton novel in 1980, suggesting that this should be the romantic piece Scorsese should film as Cocks felt it best represented his sensibility. In Scorsese on Scorsese he noted that:

"Although the film deals with New York aristocracy and a period of New York history that has been neglected, and although it deals with code and ritual, and with love that's not unrequited but unconsummated - which pretty much covers all the themes I usually deal with - when I read the book, I didn't say, 'Oh good, all those themes are here.'"

Scorsese who was strongly drawn to the characters and the story of Wharton's text, wanted his film to be as rich an emotional experience as the book was to him rather than the traditional academic adaptations of literary works. To this aim, Scorsese sought influence from diverse period films which made an emotional impact on him. In Scorsese on Scorsese, he documents influences from films such as Luchino Visconti's Senso and his Il Gattopardo as well as Orson Welles's The Magnificent Ambersons and also Roberto Rossellini's La Prise de Pouvoir par Louis XIV. Although The Age of Innocence was ultimately different than these films in terms of narrative, story and thematic concern, the presence of a lost society, of lost values as well as detailed re-creations of social customs and rituals continues the tradition of these films.

Recently, it has started to come back into the public eye, especially in countries such as the UK and France, but still is largely neglected in North America. The film earned five Academy Award nominations (including for Scorsese for Best Adapted Screenplay), winning the Costume Design Oscar. It also made a significant impact on directors such as Chinese auteur Tian Zhuangzhuang,[28] and British film-maker Terence Davies[29] both of whom ranked it among their ten favourite films.

This was his first collaboration with the Academy Award winning actor, Daniel Day-Lewis, with whom he would work again in Gangs of New York.

[edit] Casino

1995's expansive Casino, like The Age of Innocence before it, focused on a tightly wound male whose well-ordered life is disrupted by the arrival of unpredictable forces. The fact that it was a violent gangster film made it more palatable to fans of the director who perhaps were baffled by the apparent departure of the earlier film. Critically, however, Casino received mixed notices. In large part this was due to its huge stylistic similarities to his earlier Goodfellas. Indeed many of the tropes and tricks of the earlier film resurfaced more or less intact, most obviously the casting of both Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci, Pesci once again being an unbridled psychopath. Sharon Stone was nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award for her performance.

During the filming Scorsese played a background part as a gambler at one of the tables. It is quite often rumored that a real game of poker was being held at the time between extras and that a pot of $2000 was at stake. In the Film Comment issue of January 2000, devoted to the best films of the 90's, Thierry Fremaux of the Institut Lumière stated that, "The best film of the decade is also the most underrated film of the decade: 'Casino'", while Michael Wilmington called both GoodFellas and Casino, "Great late pinnacles of noir".[30]

[edit] A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies

Scorsese still found time for a four hour documentary in 1995 offering a thorough trek through American cinema. It covered the silent era to 1969, a year after which Scorsese began his feature career, stating "I wouldn't feel right commenting on myself or my contemporaries."

[edit] Kundun

If The Age of Innocence alienated and confused some fans, then Kundun (1997) went several steps further, offering an account of the early life of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, the People's Liberation Army's entering of Tibet, and the Dalai Lama's subsequent exile to India. Not least a departure in subject matter, Kundun also saw Scorsese employing a fresh narrative and visual approach. Traditional dramatic devices were substituted for a trance-like meditation achieved through an elaborate tableau of colourful visual images.[31]

The film was a source of turmoil for its distributor, Disney, who were planning significant expansion into the Chinese market at the time. Initially defiant in the face of pressure from Chinese officials, Disney has since distanced itself from the project, hurting Kundun's commercial profile.

In the short term, the sheer eclecticism in evidence enhanced the director's reputation. In the long term however, it generally appears Kundun has been sidelined in most critical appraisals of the director, mostly noted as a stylistic and thematic detour. Kundun was the director's second attempt to profile the life of a great religious leader, following The Last Temptation of Christ.

[edit] Bringing Out the Dead

Bringing Out the Dead (1999) was a return to familiar territory, with the director and writer Paul Schrader constructing a pitch-black comic take on their own earlier Taxi Driver.[32] Like previous Scorsese-Schrader collaborations, its final scenes of spiritual redemption explicitly recalled the films of Robert Bresson.[33] (It's also worth noting that the film's incident-filled nocturnal setting is reminiscent of After Hours.) It received generally positive reviews,[34] although not the universal critical acclaim of some of his other films.

[edit] 2000s

[edit] Gangs of New York

In 1999 Scorsese also produced a documentary on Italian filmmakers entitled Il Mio Viaggio in Italia, also known as My Voyage to Italy. The documentary foreshadowed the director's next project, the epic Gangs of New York (2002), influenced by (amongst many others) major Italian directors such as Luchino Visconti and filmed in its entirety at Rome's famous Cinecittà film studios.

Scorsese at the Gangs of New York screening at the Cannes Film Festival with Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz

With a production budget said to be in excess of $100 million, Gangs of New York was Scorsese's biggest and arguably most mainstream venture to date. Like The Age of Innocence, it was set in 19th-century New York, although focusing on the other end of the social scale (and like that film, also starring Daniel Day-Lewis). The film also marked the first collaboration between Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who since then has become a fixture in later Scorsese films.

The production was highly troubled with many rumors referring to the director's conflict with Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein.[35] Despite denials of artistic compromise, Gangs of New York revealed itself to be the director's most conventional film: standard film tropes which the director had traditionally avoided, such as characters existing purely for exposition purposes and explanatory flashbacks, here surfaced in abundance.[36][37][38] The original score composed by regular Scorsese collaborator Elmer Bernstein was rejected at a late stage for a score by Howard Shore and mainstream rock artists U2 and Peter Gabriel.[39] The final cut of the movie ran to 168 minutes, while the director's original cut was over 180 minutes in length.[36]

Nonetheless, the themes central to the film were consistent with the director's established concerns: New York, violence as culturally endemic, and sub-cultural divisions down ethnic lines.

Originally filmed for a release in the winter of 2001 (to qualify for Academy Award nominations), Scorsese delayed the final production of the film until after the beginning of 2002; the studio consequently delayed the film for nearly a year until its release in the Oscar season of late 2002.[40]

Gangs of New York earned Scorsese his first Golden Globe for Best Director. In February 2003, Gangs of New York received ten Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis. This was Scorsese's fourth Best Director nomination, and many thought it was finally his year to win. Ultimately, however, the film took home not a single Academy Award, and Scorsese lost his category to Roman Polanski for The Pianist.

2003 also saw the release of The Blues, an expansive seven part documentary tracing the history of blues music from its African roots to the Mississippi Delta and beyond. Seven film-makers including Wim Wenders, Clint Eastwood, Mike Figgis, and Scorsese himself each contributed a 90 minute film (Scorsese's entry was entitled “Feel Like Going Home”).

Scorsese also had uncredited involvement as executive director with the 2002 film Deuces Wild,[41] written Paul Kimatian.

[edit] The Aviator

Scorsese at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival

Scorsese's film The Aviator (2004), was a lavish, large-scale biopic of eccentric aviation pioneer and film mogul Howard Hughes and would reunite Scorsese with actor Leonardo DiCaprio. The film received highly positive reviews,[42][43][44][45][46] The film also met with widespread box office success and gained Academy recognition.

The Aviator was nominated for six Golden Globe awards, including Best Picture - Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Actor - Drama for Leonardo DiCaprio. It won three, including Best Picture and Best Actor- Drama In January 2005, The Aviator became the most-nominated film of the 77th Academy Award nominations, nominated in 11 categories including Best Picture. The film also garnered nominations in nearly all of the other major categories, including a fifth Best Director nomination for Scorsese, Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), Best Supporting Actress (Cate Blanchett), and Alan Alda for Best Supporting Actor. Despite having a leading tally, the film ended up with only five Oscars: Best Supporting Actress, Art Direction, Costume Design, Film Editing and Cinematography. Scorsese lost again, this time to director Clint Eastwood for Million Dollar Baby (which also won Best Picture).

[edit] No Direction Home

No Direction Home is a documentary film by Martin Scorsese that traces the life of Bob Dylan, and his impact on American popular music and culture of the 20th century. The film does not cover Dylan's entire career; rather, it focuses on his beginnings, his rise to fame in the 1960s, his then-controversial transformation from an acoustic guitar-based musician and performer to an electric guitar-influenced sound and his "retirement" from touring in 1966 following an infamous motorcycle accident. The film was first presented on television in both the United States (as part of the PBS American Masters series) and the United Kingdom (as part of the BBC Two Arena series) on September 26–27 2005. A DVD version of the film was released that same month. The film won a Peabody award. In addition, Scorsese received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming.

[edit] The Departed

Scorsese returned to the crime genre with the Boston-set thriller The Departed, based on the Hong Kong police drama Infernal Affairs. Along with Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed would feature Scorsese's first collaboration with Oscar Award winning actors Jack Nicholson and Matt Damon.

The Departed opened to widespread critical acclaim with some proclaiming it as one of the best efforts Scorsese had brought to the screen since 1990's Goodfellas,[47][48] and still others putting it at the same level as Scorsese's most celebrated classics Taxi Driver and Raging Bull.[49][50] With domestic box office receipts surpassing $129,402,536, The Departed is Scorsese's highest grossing film (not accounting for inflation).

Martin Scorsese's direction of The Departed earned him his second Golden Globe for Best Director, as well as a Critic's Choice Award, his first Director's Guild of America Award, and the Academy Award for Best Director. The latter was thought to be long overdue, and some entertainment critics subsequently referred to it as Scorsese's "Lifetime Achievement" Oscar. Some critics indeed further suggested that Scorsese did not deserve to win for The Departed.[51] It was presented to him by his longtime friends and colleagues Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, and George Lucas. The Departed also received the Academy Award for the Best Motion Picture of 2006, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing by longtime Scorsese editor Thelma Schoonmaker, her third win for a Scorsese film.

[edit] Shine a Light

Shine a Light is a concert film of rock and roll band The Rolling Stones' performances at New York City's Beacon Theater on October 29 and November 1, 2006, intercut with brief news and interview footage from throughout the band's career.

The film was initially scheduled for release on September 21, 2007, but Paramount Classics postponed its general release until April 2008. Its world premiere was at the opening of the 58th Berlinale Film Festival on February 7, 2008.

[edit] Shutter Island

On October 22, 2007, the Daily Variety reported that Scorsese will reunite with Leonardo DiCaprio on a fourth picture, Shutter Island. Principal photography on the Laeta Kalogridis screenplay, based on the novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane, began in Massachusetts in March 2008.[52][53] The project was later retitled Ashecliffe.

In December 2007, actors Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, and Michelle Williams joined the cast.[54][55] The film is slated to be released on October 2, 2009.[56]

[edit] Future films

Scorsese announced his intention to shoot a film based on Shusaku Endo’s novel, Silence. Silence will begin shooting in New Zealand in 2009, with Daniel Day-Lewis, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Benicio del Toro set to star.

Scorsese is also shooting an upcoming documentary on the life of Beatle member George Harrison. Scorsese has also been in contact with reputed mobster John Martarano concerning the upcoming film "The Executioner". Scorsese and De Niro plan to reunite with a film adaptation of the Charles Brandt novel I Heard You Paint Houses, about the life of Frank Sheeran. Scorsese also plans to cast Leonardo DiCaprio in two more films, The Wolf of Wall Street and a film adaptation of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt.

Scorsese has also recently announced his involvement on an upcoming HBO series, Boardwalk Empire, based upon Nelson Johnson's book Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times and Corruption of Atlantic City. The series will be produced by Entourage duo Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson and is written by The Sopranos scribe Terence Winter.[57] It stars Steve Buscemi and Michael Pitt. Scorsese will direct the pilot episode.[58]

[edit] Pop cultural influence

  • In an episode of American Dad! titled "The Best Christmas Story Never", Stan convinces Scorsese to stop taking drugs in the 70s, causing Scorsese not to make the film Taxi Driver, leading to an alternate timeline where the Soviet Union had conquered the United States.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons titled A Star Is Burns, Marge Simpson crosses out Scorsese's name as a film critic at the Springfield Film Festival in favor of Homer.
  • The band King Missile included on its 1992 album Happy Hour a song entitled "Martin Scorsese," in which frontman John S. Hall assumes the persona of a crazed Scorsese obsessive who wishes to express his appreciation of the director's work by savagely assaulting him.
  • In the 1990s animated TV show Animaniacs, the Goodfeathers, a gang of pigeons based on the three main characters in the film Goodfellas, hang out at a statue of the director.
  • In an episode of the HBO series The Sopranos, Christopher Moltisanti sees Scorsese (an actor portraying Scorsese) going into a club and yells out at him "Hey! Marty! Kundun! I liked it!"
  • Scorsese appears as himself in the Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes "The Special Section" and "Krazee Eyez Killa".
  • In TV show Friends, Joey Tribbiani mentions he could get a job with 'the NEXT, NEXT Martin Scorsese', since 'the NEXT Martin Scorsese' already exists, being a guy from Boston.
  • In 2007, Scorsese was listed among Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in The World.
  • Scorsese appeared in a series of American Express commercials as a director.
  • Scorsese directed two commercials for Armani in the 80s. They were not seen in the US.
  • In August 2007 Scorsese was named the 2nd greatest director of all time in a poll by Total Film magazine, in front of Steven Spielberg and behind Alfred Hitchcock.
  • In the movie "Singles", the girl behind the counter of the video dating service alleges that her co-worker Brian (played by Tim Burton) should direct Debbie's (Sheila Kelley) video, claiming that he is the "next Martin Scorsese".
  • In the online mockmentary "Pure Pwnage", the characters refer to Martin Scorsese's last name few times in the show. A scene of the character Doug looking in the mirror pointing a plastic gun at his reflection is a reference to a similar scene in Taxi Driver.
  • In the movie Threesome, the main characters ask their less gifted friend whether she likes Scorsese and she responds "No, I don't eat spicy food".
  • In the computer game, "Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven", the import company's name is Scorsese.
  • He appeared as himself in the HBO TV series "Entourage", offering the main character Vincent Chase the lead role of Nick Carraway in a modern day adaptation of The Great Gatsby.
  • In's 2007 year in review, the phrase "Marty won one finally" is sung referring to his Oscar win in 2007 for directing.
  • In the television show, "30 Rock", Martin Scorsese is mentioned as directing the Janis Joplin biopic, starring Julia Roberts.

[edit] Director trademarks

  • Begins his films with segments taken from the middle or end of the story. Examples include Raging Bull (1980),[59] Goodfellas (1990),[60] Casino (1995),[61] and The Last Waltz.[62]
  • Frequent use of slow motion, e.g. Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980).[63]
  • His lead characters are often sociopathic and/or want to be accepted in society.[64]
  • His blonde leading ladies are usually seen through the eyes of the protagonist as angelic and ethereal; they always wear white in their first scene and are photographed in slow-motion (Cybill Shepherd in Taxi Driver; Cathy Moriarty's white bikini in Raging Bull; Sharon Stone's white minidress in Casino).[65] This may possibly be a nod to director Alfred Hitchcock.[66]
  • Often uses long tracking shots.[67]
  • Use of MOS sequences set to popular music or voice over, often involving aggressive camera movement and/or rapid editing.[68]
  • Often has a quick cameo in his films (Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, The King of Comedy, After Hours, The Last Temptation of Christ (albeit hidden under a hood), The Age of Innocence, Gangs of New York). Also, often contributes his voice to a film without showing his face on screen. E.g., provides the opening voice-over narration in Mean Streets and The Color of Money; plays the off-screen dressing room attendant in the final scene of Raging Bull; provides the voice of the unseen ambulance dispatcher in Bringing out the Dead.[69]
  • Frequently uses New York City as the main setting in his films, eg. Gangs of New York, Taxi Driver, The Age of Innocence, After Hours, New York, New York.[70]
  • Sometimes highlights characters in a scene with an iris, an homage to 1920s silent film cinema (as most scenes at the time used this transition). This effect can be seen in Casino (it is used on Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci), Life Lessons, and The Departed (on Matt Damon).
  • Some of his films include references/allusions to classic Westerns particularly Shane and The Searchers.
  • More recently, his films have featured corrupt authority figures, such as policemen in The Departed[71] and politicians in Gangs of New York[72] and The Aviator.[73]
  • Guilt is a prominent theme in many of his films, as is the role of Catholicism in creating and dealing with guilt (Raging Bull, GoodFellas, Bringing Out the Dead, Mean Streets, Who's That Knocking at My Door, etc.)

[edit] Scorsese's Circle

Scorsese has been known to cast the same actors in his films, particularly Robert De Niro, who collaborated with Scorsese for eight films. Included are the three films that made the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies list. Though a majority of critics cite Raging Bull to be De Niro's best performance, Scorsese has often stated that he thought Robert De Niro's best work under his direction was Rupert Pupkin in The King of Comedy. Most recently, Scorsese has found a new muse with young actor Leonardo DiCaprio, with whom he has collaborated for three films, with two others confirmed to be in the works. [74] Several critics have compared Scorsese's new partnership with DiCaprio with his previous one with De Niro. [75][76] Other frequent collaborators include Victor Argo (6), Harry Northup (6), Harvey Keitel (5), Murray Moston (5), Joe Pesci (3), Frank Vincent (3), Verna Bloom (3), Steven Prince (2), Barbara Hershey (2), Alec Baldwin (2), David Carradine (2), Willem Dafoe (2), Nick Nolte (2) and John C. Reilly (2). Scorsese has also collaborated twice with the acclaimed actor Daniel Day-Lewis, who had become very reclusive to the Hollywood scene. Before their deaths, Scorese's parents, Charles and Catherine, would be given bit parts, walk-ons, or supporting roles.

For his crew, Scorsese frequently worked with editor Thelma Schoonmaker,[77] cinematographers Michael Ballhaus[78] and Robert Richardson, screenwriters Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin, costume designer Sandy Powell, production designer Dante Ferretti, and composers Robbie Robertson, Howard Shore[79] and Elmer Bernstein[80]. Schoonmaker, Richardson, Powell, and Ferretti have all won Academy Awards in their respective categories due to their collaborations with Scorsese. Elaine and Saul Bass, the latter being Hitchcock's title designer of choice, have designed the opening credits for Goodfellas, The Age of Innocence, Casino and Cape Fear. He was the executive producer of the film "Brides," which was directed by Pantelis Voulgaris and starred Victoria Haralabidou, Damien Lewis, Steven Berkoff and Kosta Sommer.

[edit] TV Venture

Aleksa Palladino, Paul Sparks, Shea Whigham and Anthony Laciura round out the cast of "Boardwalk Empire," Martin Scorsese's drama pilot for HBO. Written by Terence Winter and to be directed by Scorsese, the series chronicles the early 20th century origins of Atlantic City and revolves around Nucky Johnson (Steve Buscemi), who runs a liquor-distribution ring, and Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt), his ruthless flunky.[81]

[edit] Awards and Recognitions

[edit] Filmography (as director)

Year Film No. of Oscar Nominations No. of Oscar Wins
1963 What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This?
1964 It's Not Just You, Murray!
1967 The Big Shave
Who's That Knocking at My Door, originally titled I Call First
1970 Street Scenes
1972 Boxcar Bertha
1973 Mean Streets
1974 Italianamerican
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore 3 1
1976 Taxi Driver 4 0
1977 New York, New York
1978 The Last Waltz
American Boy: A Profile of Steven Prince
1980 Raging Bull 8 2
1983 The King of Comedy
1985 After Hours
1986 The Color of Money 4 1
1987 Bad (music video with Michael Jackson)
1988 The Last Temptation of Christ 1 0
1989 New York Stories (segment Life's Lessons)
1990 Goodfellas 6 1
1991 Cape Fear 2 0
1993 The Age of Innocence 5 1
1995 Casino 1 0
1997 Kundun 4
1999 Bringing Out the Dead
2002 Gangs of New York 10 0
2004 The Aviator 11 5
2005 No Direction Home: Bob Dylan 4 (Emmys) 1 (Emmys)
2006 The Departed 5 4
2007 The Key to Reserva (short)
2008 Shine a Light
2009 Ashecliffe

[edit] Selected filmography (as actor)

1973 Mean Streets (cameo) as Jimmy Shorts
1976 Taxi Driver (cameo) as Passenger in Travis' Cab
1978 The Last Waltz (as himself)
1983 The King of Comedy (cameo) as TV Director
1986 Round Midnight as Goodley
1990 Dreams as Vincent Van Gogh
1994 Quiz Show as Martin Rittenhome
1999 The Muse (as himself)
1999 Bringing Out the Dead (dispatcher)
2004 Shark Tale (voice) Sykes
2008 Entourage (as himself)

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ The Religious Affiliation of Director Martin Scorsese Webpage created 27 May 2005. Last modified 5 September 2005. Accessed 1 April 2007.
  2. ^ Yahoo! Movies
  3. ^ Martin Scorsese Biography (1942-)
  4. ^ Chris Ingui. "Martin Scorsese hits DC, hangs with the Hachet". Hatchet. Retrieved on 2006-06-29. 
  5. ^ Chris Ingui. "Martin Scorsese hits DC, hangs with the Hachet". Hatchet. Retrieved on 2006-06-29. 
  6. ^ ([dead link]Scholar search)Asthma Awareness Day, Capitol Hill 2003, Annual Awards Campaign, 2003,, retrieved on 2008-07-15 
  7. ^ Raymond, Marc (May 2002), Martin Scorsese, 
  8. ^ "Finding the boy again". Scotsman. [dead link]
  9. ^ a b Scorsese on DVD (Film Freak Central)
  10. ^ Hinson, Hal (1991-11-24). "Scorsese, Master Of The Rage". Washington Post. 
  11. ^ Ebert, Roger (March 7, 1976), "Interview with Martin Scorsese", (Chicago Sun-Times), 
  12. ^ Citizen Bickle, or the Allusive Taxi Driver: Uses of Intertextuality
  13. ^ "'I was in a bad place'". Guardian. 2006-07-06.,,1813797,00.html. 
  14. ^ "Festival Archives: Taxi Driver". Festival de Cannes. Retrieved on 2008-02-14. 
  15. ^ Williams, Alex (2003-01-03). "'Are we ever going to make this picture?'". Guardian.,6737,867652,00.html. 
  16. ^ Malcolm, Derek (1999-12-09). "Martin Scorsese: Raging Bull". Guardian.,,112416,00.html. 
  17. ^ Snider, Mike (2005-02-07). "'Raging Bull' returns to the ring". USA Today. 
  18. ^ Raging Bull
  19. ^ Morris, Mark (1999-10-31). "Ageing bulls return". Observer.,,98151,00.html. 
  20. ^ The King of Comedy
  21. ^ The King of Comedy Film Review
  22. ^ Wim Wenders - The Official Site
  23. ^ Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ
  24. ^ :: :: Reviews :: GoodFellas (xhtml)
  25. ^ GoodFellas
  26. ^ GoodFellas (1990)
  27. ^ Goodfellas (Wide Screen)
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ Kundun - Time Out
  32. ^ Bringing Out The Dead
  33. ^ Reinert on Bringing Out the Dead
  34. ^, Bringing Out the Dead Entry, accessed January 29, 2007
  35. ^ Gangs of Los Angeles | News | Guardian Unlimited Film
  36. ^ a b Gangs of New York | Reviews | Guardian Unlimited Film
  37. ^ Compare Prices and Read Reviews on Gangs of New York at
  38. ^ Past master | Features | Guardian Unlimited Film
  39. ^ ScoreTrack.Net - Music for The Movies: Elmer Bernstein
  40. ^ In briefs: Gangs of New York release delayed again
  41. ^ IMDB: Dueces Wild credits
  42. ^, The Aviator entry, accessed January 24, 2007
  43. ^ Are you talking to me - again?
  44. ^ Right guy, wrong film
  45. ^ Empire Reviews Central - Review of The Aviator
  46. ^ Rolling Stone : Aviator : Review
  48. ^ Movie Review - Departed, The - eFilmCritic
  49. ^ Reel Views
  50. ^ All Movie - The Departed
  51. ^ "Scorsese wins with film that’s not his best". MSNBC. 2007-02-27. 
  52. ^ Michael Fleming (2007). "Scorsese, DiCaprio team for 'Island'". 
  53. ^ "Scorsese, Leo head to 'Shutter Island". 2007. 
  54. ^ Tatiana Siegel (2007-12-03). "Kingsley signs on to 'Shutter Island'". Variety. Retrieved on 2008-01-08. 
  55. ^ Michael Fleming (2007-12-06). "Michelle Williams joins 'Island'". Variety. Retrieved on 2008-01-08. 
  56. ^ Pamela McClintock (2008-02-13). "'Star Trek' pushed back to 2009". Variety. Retrieved on 2008-02-13. 
  57. ^ Michael Schneider (2008). "Winter on Scorsese's 'Boardwalk'". 
  58. ^ Nellie Andreeva (2008). "Michael Pitt set for Scorsese's HBO pilot". 
  59. ^ Raging Bull by Tim Dirks, (online), 2008
  60. ^ Goodfellas by Tim Dirks, (online), 2008
  61. ^ Casino Script Screenplays For You (online), 1995
  62. ^ Rock Doc Philidelpia Weekly (online), April 17 2002
  63. ^ Martin Scorsese by Marc Raymond, Senses of Cinema (online), May 2002
  64. ^ Martin Scorsese: Master of Violence by Nicholas Tana, Moving Pictures Magazine (online)
  65. ^ Martin Scorsese, Frankie's Films (online), January 2007
  66. ^ Hitchcock and Women
  67. ^ Coyle, Jake (2007-12-29). "'Atonement' brings the long tracking shot back into focus". Boston Globe. 
  68. ^ Martin Scorsese’s Comfortable State of Anxiety by Timothy Rhys, Movie Maker Magazine (online), October 16 2002
  69. ^ Most Famous Film Director Cameos by Tim Dirks, (online), 2008
  70. ^ Sanders, James (October 2006). Scenes from the City: Filmmaking in New York. New York: Rizzoli, 288 Pages. ISBN 0847828905
  71. ^ Revisiting Southie's culture of death By Michael Patrick MacDonald, The Boston Globe (online), October 11 2006
  72. ^ Gangs of New York Review by Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times (online), December 20 2002
  73. ^ High Rollers by David Denby, The New Yorker (online), December 20 2004
  74. ^ Leo & Marty: Yes, Again!
  75. ^ Scorsese Likens DiCaprio To De Niro
  76. ^ Successful Hollywood Duos
  77. ^ IMDb list of films featuring Scorsese and Schoonmaker
  78. ^ Michael Ballhaus, ASC takes on Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York, a 19th-century tale of vengeance and valor set in the city's most notorious neighborhood.
  79. ^ Scorsese Films: The Aviator.
  80. ^ Some You Win.
  81. ^

[edit] External links

Preceded by
Clint Eastwood
AFI Life Achievement Award
Succeeded by
Robert Wise
Awards and achievements
Cannes Film Festival
Preceded by
Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina
for Chronicle of the Years of Fire
Palme d'Or
for Taxi Driver

Succeeded by
Paolo and Vittorio Taviani
for Padre Padrone
Preceded by
André Téchiné
for Rendez-vous
Award for Best Director
for After Hours

Succeeded by
Wim Wenders
for Wings of Desire
Preceded by
Kenneth Branagh
for Henry V
BAFTA Award for Best Direction
for GoodFellas

Succeeded by
Alan Parker
for The Commitments
Venice Film Festival
Preceded by
João César Monteiro
for Recordações da Casa Amarela
and Kei Kumai
for Sen no Rikyu
Silver Lion for Best Director
for GoodFellas

Succeeded by
Bigas Luna
for Jamon, Jamon
Golden Globe Award
Preceded by
Robert Altman
for Gosford Park
Best Director
for Gangs of New York

Succeeded by
Peter Jackson
for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Preceded by
Ang Lee
for Brokeback Mountain
Best Director
for The Departed

Succeeded by
Julian Schnabel
for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Academy Award and Directors Guild of America Award
Preceded by
Ang Lee
for Brokeback Mountain
Best Director
for The Departed

Succeeded by
Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
for No Country For Old Men

NAME Scorsese, Martin
ALTERNATIVE NAMES Scorsese, Martin Marcantonio Luciano
SHORT DESCRIPTION American film director
DATE OF BIRTH November 17, 1942
PLACE OF BIRTH Flushing, New York, United States
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